Betty teaches you the importance of keeping your OFFLINE identity separate from your ONLINE identity


Cyber Defender & Clubhouse Supervisor

Betty learned the hard way about sharing too much information online when rumors she had spread through her online blog upset some of her friends. Since then she has made it her goal to educate everyone about what information is inappropriate or unsafe to share online to prevent others from getting hurt.

As a Cyber Defender, Betty focuses on the most important information you should never share online, your offline identity.

Favorite Quote:

A stumble may prevent a fall
- English Proverb

Favorite Food:

Tea and crumpets


Chatting, macrame, collecting teacups

October 15, 2010

Netiquette - The Basics

Hello, Cadets! Online communication can be tricky. Sometimes it’s hard to know exactly what the other person means without being able to see them or hear them. With that in mind, here are some basic netiquette tips to help make your online experience safe and fun!

  • Be Nice – it seems like a no-brainer, but if you’re nice to someone, they have no reason not to be nice right back!
  • Be Clear – since it’s so easy to misunderstand someone without seeing or hearing them, be sure to keep your meaning clear. A lot of fights could be avoided if people tried hard not to be vague.
  • Be the Better Person – if someone is being mean to you, don’t be mean right back or you could find yourself in a Flame War. It takes the better person to just walk away from an argument.
  • Be Careful – if someone is really bothering you online, tell a trusted adult about your experience. This way, you can enjoy the Internet without worrying about being bothered in the future.

And there you have it! Follow those rules and your online communications will be fun and, more importantly, safe!

posted by Betty
topics: Netiquette

August 17, 2010

Netiquette - Phone Etiquette

My dear cadets, being back in 1986 has got me thinking – we spend so much time communicating online that maybe, just maybe, we have been neglecting our phone etiquette. Technology may be a great unifier, but I’m starting to think overusing it might let us forget that what it’s like to deal one-on-one with real people! Here’s a list of things to keep in mind when you’re talking to someone over the phone.

  • If the person you’re speaking to is at work, keep the conversation short and courteous.
  • If you dial the wrong number, apologize before hanging up.
  • Try not to call a business or person at a time that’s inconvenient, such as near closing time or during hours when the person might be eating.
  • Answer your phone with a simple “Hello” and certainly not “What” or “Talk to me.”
  • When creating the message people hear before leaving you a voicemail, just leave it simple. No one wants to listen through three minutes of a terrible-sounding song just to leave you a message!
  • Above all else, just be nice! Speak clearly and calmly and do your best not to lose your temper

If you follow these simple tips you will have much more pleasant experiences on the phone. Remember, cadets, it always pays to be courteous!

posted by Betty
topics: Netiquette

April 14, 2010

Netiquette - Spoilers!

How angry am I? So angry! And why? Well, it all started yesterday as I was reading through a forum for my favorite TV show. One of the posters must have assumed everyone in the forums saw the last episode, because he wrote exactly how it ended.

Thanks for ruining it! I’ve been so busy lately that I missed the last episode. I was going to watch it tonight, but no sense in doing that now! Ugh. And to think, this all could have been prevented if he let the readers know his post contained spoilers.

My dear cadets, if you’re going to reveal any fact about a show, book, movie, play, etc, that your reader may not know, tag it as a spoiler! The easiest way to do this is by writing ****SPOILER ALERT**** before the spoiler and ****END SPOILERS**** afterwards. By doing this, you will keep your readers happy and they will not have to worry about you spoiling anything for them.

Oh, and finally, PLEASE don’t put any spoilers in the title of your post! At least give your reader’s a fighting chance to decide for themselves if they want to read the spoilers!

posted by Betty
topics: Netiquette

January 15, 2010

Netiquette - Photo Tagging

To tag or not to tag - that is the question. Photo tagging, for anyone who doesn't know, is nothing more than labeling a picture online. So what's the big deal? How can photo tagging go wrong? Very easily.

Imagine this. You're at a birthday party acting silly with your friends. Maybe you're dancing around with a lampshade on your head. Maybe you're getting a slice of cake smashed into your face. Someone asks if they can take a picture of you, and you say yes. If only you knew they were going to put that picture on the Internet! With your name attached to it! Now everyone in your entire school can see it! Oh no!

My dear cadets, no one wants this to happen to them. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to avoid this. Firstly, never post anyone's picture online without their permission. Even if they give you permission, make sure to ask if you can tag them in the picture. Also, if someone posts a picture of you and you don't want it up, don't overreact! Just be calm and ask them to take it down or remove the tag.

posted by Betty
topics: Netiquette

December 4, 2009

Netiquette - Mobile Etiquette - With Special Guest, Carlo!

Hey everybody, Betty was nice enough to let me help out with this month's blog about mobile etiquette. This will be a multiple-part series spread out over several months, so look for the rest of the entries on my blog soon!

Okay, let's start with the basics. When you're on a cell phone in public, keep in mind that there are people around you. I know it sounds simple, but for some reason, many people think that just because they are on a phone, that makes their conversation private! Hello!

For example, I was walking down the street the other day and the person in front of me was ordering food over the phone. After he placed his order, he started reading his credit card number out loud over the phone! In the middle of a crowded sidewalk! I mean, it's a good thing for him I'm not a bad person. It would have been so easy to write down what he was saying and go on an online shopping spree!

Just remember, cadets, when you're out in public you have very little control over who is listening to what you say, so watch what you say!

posted by Carlo
topics: Netiquette

September 15 2009

Netiquette: Flame Wars

I do declare, some of the comments I've seen on message boards lately are just awful! To think, someone just wants to post about something they care about and these.these trolls come along and start spouting all these horrendous thoughts! Remember, cadets, this is how flame wars start! For those of you who don't know, a flame war is basically an online argument that has eroded from a discussion of different views to all-out personal attacks. You know, the sort of things the Dis Guys just absolutely love to see. Well, as cadets, it's your job to make the Internet a better place and stop these flame wars before they start!

So how do you do it? Simple! For starters, be nice. Don't be offensive if you disagree with someone. If someone writes that they disagree with you, don't think of it as an insult; think of it as a chance to learn! Of course, if they are being insulting, report it to the moderator or web host. Also, remember that the reader might not understand that what you wrote is a joke. For example, if you're trying to be goofy and I think you're being serious, it could start an argument. A good way to stop this is to use emoticons so that the reader can better understand the mood that you're writing in. A simple smiley can prevent a lot of hurt feelings!

posted by Betty
topics: Netiquette

July 23 2009

Netiquette: Respecting the Terms of Use

"Terms of Use" are a list of guidelines given by a service provider, such as a social networking site. These guidelines are meant to inform you of what behaviors will get you kicked off the site. Using the example of a social networking site, let's say that the Terms of Use state that the provider does not tolerate the use of racial slurs. If you use racial slurs while you are on that site, they will ban your account.

The Terms of Use can also be used to protect the service provider from lawsuits. An example this would be if someone used a social networking site to stalk someone. Hopefully, the service provider's Terms of Use made it clear that harassing or stalking a user would not be tolerated. If this was stated, then the weirdo stalker broke the Terms of Use for the service provider and the site would not be held responsible.

It is very important that you understand what you are agreeing to before you click the "I Agree" button for a Web site. If you are going to play the game, so to speak, make sure you know the rules, cadets!

posted by Betty
topics: Netiquette

May 5 2009

Netiquette: Chat and Forum Spamming

Forum and chat spam are when someone posts or sends numerous advertisements or unwanted messages. Sometimes they aren't even sent by a real person, but by a spambot. Spambots are automated software that does nothing but send lots of spam messages, and replying to them asking them to stop doesn't do any good.

Forum and chat spam frequently has a lot of links to external sites and is an attempt to steer more visitors to those sites. The text of the spam and the sites it links to can also be completely unrelated to the forum topic they are posted under.

Forum moderators and posting filters do a pretty good job of keeping most spam posts off the site, but they can't catch everything. If you find spam on a forum you can report it to the moderator. If you are spammed on instant messenger, you can block the spammer. Avoid clicking on any links though because they'll probably take you somewhere you don't want to be.

posted by Betty
topics: Netiquette

February 3 2008

Netiquette: Emphasizing in text

When you communicate face to face, there's a lot more than just words going back and forth. There are facial expressions, body language, gestures, and even the way you say things, all of which combine to get your message across. Since you can't see people face to face in cyberspace, you're not getting the whole picture unless you adapt how you communicate.

As you spend more time chatting online, you'll probably develop your own personal way of phrasing things, your own way of putting your voice into your chatting. If you've read my post Netiquette: Internet Chat Slang, you already know that emoticons and acronyms can help you communicate better with people in cyberspace. And if you've read my post Netiquette: Pay Attention to Format or played the Netiquette Quiz, then you know that typing in ALL CAPS IS CONSIDERED SHOUTING AND IS VERY RUDE.

There are other ways of emphasizing your words when you type, like making them bold, italicized, or by putting them between special characters like *asterisks* or _underscores_.

You can also use colloquialisms, expressions like "dude" and "whatever" that you probably use all the time when you talk to people. These things can help you type like you talk so that less gets lost in translation. Just see how adding emphasis, colloquilisms, and emoticons can completely change the feeling behind these words:

WHAT WERE YOU THINKING? Are you really that silly??

Dude, what were you thinking? Are you *really* that silly?? ;)

posted by Betty
topics: Netiquette

November 4 2008

Netiquette: Forum Trolls

Forum Trolls are people who post rude or mean comments on Internet forums for the sole purpose of upsetting or insulting people and disrupting the forum environment.

The name "troll" comes from the fishing term "trolling" or trailing bait through a certain spot hoping for a bite. Forum Trolls are simply using insults or harmful statements as bait to try and get people to react. Trolls can be relatively easy to spot: they will often post things anonymously that have no relevance to the conversation or are a very extreme point of view.

For most Forum Trolls, any response is exactly what they are searching for, whether politely asking them to stop or angrily telling them to shut up. They often like to start an argument by posting something intentionally controversial and then sit back and watch it play out. Being able to control a group's conversation like this gives them a sense of power. The best way to take that power away from them is to ignore them entirely and report the abuse to the forum moderator.

posted by Betty
topics: Netiquette

September 9 2008

Netiquette: Online Gaming Netiquette

Online multiplayer games can be a lot of fun and much more exciting than games you play by yourself, and many games allow you to chat with the other players. Just like any interacting in cyberspace, you should follow good Netiquette when doing so:

  • Be polite - No one wants to play with a rude person. If you need help with something, ask politely. Don't forget to say please and thank you. Don't be annoying.
  • Communicate clearly - Especially when you are playing in a group, you should make sure everyone is ready and knows the plan before jumping into action. Sometimes mistakes happen, but if you screw up, apologize.
  • Learn the terminology - Players often create their own language of abbreviations for online games, like using AFK for Away From Keyboard. If you're going to be playing with other experienced players, you could easily get confused. Make an effort to learn the terminology, so that you can understand everyone and join in.
  • Don't spam - Spamming in an online game is when you send multiple messages or invitations, one right after the other. This is generally annoying to everyone. In addition, it clutters up the screen. Don't keep sending invites if they get turned down. Use private messages if you are having a conversation with someone. Only use the chat channel when you have something to say to everyone.
  • Don't be a cyber bully - This should go without saying. If you are being bullied by someone in a game, ignore them or report them to the Game Moderators.
  • Play fair - Don't try to cheat other players and don't use hacking software to cheat the game. Not only is it unfair, but you can get banned from the game.
  • Help out the new players - You were a new player, too, once. Be helpful to new players and show them the ropes, you may even make a new friend!
  • Don't tell other people how to play - Even if you've been playing for a long time and you think another player is doing something "wrong," unless they ask for your help or are causing problems for you, keep it to yourself.
  • Don't be a bad sport - Remember, it's just a game. Sometimes online games can get very frustrating, but don't let it ruin your day. If something is really making you upset, log off and go do something else.

posted by Betty
topics: Netiquette

July 29 2008

Netiquette: Be the Better Person

This is the last post for my month-long Netiquette feature. If you missed any of the others, you can find them in the Netiquette category.

I frequently stress the importance of being anonymous when you are in cyberspace, by using an alias to protect your Offline identity and never sharing any of your personal information. I tell you to do these things so you will protect yourself and your friends. However, for some people, being anonymous in cyberspace becomes an excuse to behave rudely towards others. If they don’t know who you are, it’s okay to be mean to them, right? Wrong.

From time to time you may be confronted with a tricky situation in cyberspace. Your email inbox might become flooded with spam or you might receive a nasty email from someone you thought was a friend. You might become the target of a cyber bully or have to deal with flaming on a message board or social networking site. Unfortunately, there will always be people who don’t respect others, and cyberspace can bring out the worst in them. The best thing to do as a good cyber citizen is to Be the Better Person.

If someone is being rude in cyberspace, you have a choice between joining in and making it worse or just walking away from it. If their attacks are directed at you, you can talk to a trusted adult about how to best deal with them before responding. You can also simply block them.

Sometimes honest mistakes do happen, even between friends. If that's the case, you can talk about it and work out an understanding. I recently had to tell one of my dear friends that while I love to receive emails from her, I don't like receiving 10 forwarded chain letter emails a day. She agreed not to forward them to me anymore and our friendship is better because of it.

As a good cyber citizen, you should help others out and always remember that there is a person with feelings behind that computer. Good Netiquette helps make cyberspace a more enjoyable place for everyone. Try out my Netiquette Quiz game to test your Netiquette know-how!

posted by Betty
topics: Netiquette

July 22 2008

Netiquette: Internet chat slang

Welcome back to the month-long Netiquette feature. Every week for the month of July I will be posting a tip on proper Netiquette, the etiquette of the Internet.

Have you ever been chatting with someone online and they start typing something that makes absolutely no sense to you? Things like AFK, j00 and 8-)? Internet chat slang has become a major part of cyberspace, and many people use it when chatting online or with text messages to save time and show emotions.

However, it can be frustrating and embarrassing when the other person doesn't understand what you are saying, and sometimes feelings can get hurt. A good cyber citizen is sensitive to other people's feelings and level of expertise in cyberspace and they try not to use too much chat slang if they think the other person won't understand it.

There are several different types of chat slang:

  • Acronyms like BRB, LOL, and FYI are abbreviated versions of phrases like Be Right Back, Laugh Out Loud, and For Your Information. They are much faster than typing out the entire phrase, and can be very useful when text messaging.

    You can find a list of common Web Acronyms here, but try to limit yourself to the ones that everyone knows, such as ROFL, TTYL, and J/K.

  • Emoticons, from the words "emotion" and "icon", are facial expressions or other pictures created with letters and punctuation symbols. Many emoticons, like :-) and >:-( are meant to be read sideways, and can be a fun way to show people your facial expressions when chatting.

    You can find a list of common Emoticons here, including a rose @--/-- and a cup of coffee c["].

  • L33tspeak is a type of chat slang that is commonly used among gamers. The term comes from the word "elite" and is a special form of writing where numbers and combinations of character are used to replace alphabet letters. For example, 3 replaces the letter E and 4 replaces the letter A. It can also be further distorted through intentional bad spelling and poor grammar, so the phrase 1 4m l33t stands for "I am elite."

    There are also words and phrases unique to l33tspeak such as w00t, which is used for celebration, like "yay", and n00b, which means "newbie" and is a term from someone who is new to something or not very good at it.

    You can learn more about l33tspeak here, but be careful using it because L33tspeak can become extremely complicated and very few people in cyberspace understand it.

Try out my Netiquette Quiz game to test your Netiquette know-how!

posted by Betty
topics: Netiquette

July 15 2008

Netiquette: Pay Attention to Format

Welcome back to the month-long Netiquette feature. Every week for the month of July I will be posting a tip on proper Netiquette, the etiquette of the Internet.

The Internet can be a very informal environment, but that's no excuse not to use good netiquette. To be a good cyber citizen, you need to pay attention to the format of your emails, chat messages, and online posts, just like you would if you were sending your grandmother a nice letter. Here's a list of formatting tips:

  • Don't write a whole novel if you really have just a few things to say. Most people receive tons of email and text messages and having to read through a really lengthy one can waste their time. Keep it short, polite, and to the point.

  • Pay attention to the overall tone of your message. What you might intend as lighthearted teasing may actually come across as being mean. You can use emoticons and acronyms to help get your message across in the right spirit, since the recipient can’t see you face-to-face (more on those next week). Avoid using ALL CAPS in your message, in cyberspace it means you are shouting and is very rude.

  • Always check what you have written for typos or other mistakes. Sloppy writing reflects very poorly on you and with the abundance of grammar and spell-check features out there, there is no excuse for having typos. Just spend a little bit of time reading your message over before clicking Send.

  • Emails should be formatted just like a letter, beginning with addressing the recipient ("Dear Officer Ward," or "Ms. Adelaide,") and ending with a signature ("Sincerely, Betty," or "Love, Grandma"). If it's part of a long email conversation it's okay to relax the format a little though, but initial messages should be properly formatted.

  • Make sure the subject line of an email is something that makes sense so the recipient knows what the email is about, especially if it's about something important. Confusing subject lines will probably just frustrate and annoy the recipient, and then they might not even read the email.

You can try out my Netiquette Quiz game to test your Netiquette know-how!

posted by Betty
topics: Netiquette

July 8 2008

Netiquette: Ask Permission

Hello everyone, and welcome to my month-long Netiquette feature! Every week for the month of July I will be posting a tip on proper Netiquette, the etiquette of the Internet. Etiquette is defined as "the conduct or procedure required by good breeding or prescribed by authority to be observed in social or official life," so in other words, good manners! While being friendly and polite shows good manners both Offline and Online, there are some special manners you should also follow in cyberspace.

This week's tip is to always remember to Ask Permission. A good Cyber Citizen always asks someone's permission before posting anything about them on the Web or sharing an email, photo, or chat conversation. I know you're smart enough to make absolutely sure that what you are posting or sharing does not contain any personal information, but you also need to make sure they know you are sharing it and are okay with it.

If your friend emails you a funny story, ask them if it is okay to forward it to your other friends before doing so, and be sure to remove your friend's name and email address first. It's also a good idea to check through any previous conversation threads for personal information and remove them if they have nothing to do with the part that you want to share (most emails will list all the previously sent emails at the bottom as a thread).

This becomes especially important in the business world because lots of very sensitive information is sent with email. You could lose your job if you accidentally forward some information to someone who wasn't supposed to know about it!

You can try out my Netiquette Quiz to test your Netiquette know-how!

posted by Betty
topics: Netiquette

July 25 2007

Online Games

I enjoy playing those social online games. Sometimes I make a character that just sits around town trading things with people. I enjoy socializing. But sometimes people can be so rude. I've had people say things to me that they would never have used if this were reality.

A good rule of thumb is to always be courteous when playing an online game. Treat others as you hope to be treated and behave like you would in real life. Just because you are playing a game doesn't mean you can throw manners out the window.

posted by Betty
topics: Netiquette